If you walk around the perimeter of Echo Park Lake, you might wonder, can I fish at Echo Park Lake?
There are clear signs around the perimeter that warn against swimming, or potentially harmful urban storm water run-off, and docking, but the lake’s fishing etiquette and legality are not so clear-cut.
Historically, the City of Los Angeles has allowed fishing at Echo Park Lake, as evidenced by great archival images you may have come across:
Great Pics, but Can I Fish?
But after the renovation and re-opening of Echo Park Lake in 2013, with a large investment at hand, is the City of Los Angeles still permitting fishing at the lake?
According to the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and to the Echo Park Recreation Center, fishing is still allowed at the park as one of the park’s recreational features. Other approved activities and features at Echo Park Lake include pedal boats, picnic areas, walking paths, the boat house, lotus flowers, and more.
The Echo Park Recreation Center says that fishing should only occur between June and September of each year, however it is unclear how that time frame is enforced.
Fishing Requirements and Pricing
The City of Los Angeles does not require its residents to have any special fishing license to fish at approved locations in the city (including Echo Park Lake), so you won’t have city officials after you, but the State of California does…
Under California state law, you must have a fishing license to fish inland or at ocean waters. Here is some general information regarding the license:
- Required for ages 16 or older
- Must be a California resident, or a qualified non-resident (additional fee for non-residents)
- Currently, a regular resident sport fishing license costs $46.44 for a year (January 1-Dec 31st)
- Nonresidents must pay $124.77 for the same license
- Discounts may apply for disabled veterans, recovering service members, low income seniors, low income Native Americans, and for those who have certain disabilities (mobility, blindness, or developmental)
There are also one day or two-day licenses available, and special “validations” must be purchased to have legal access to different species of fish, or to fish in certain locations. Also, to have a second rod while fishing, you may have to purchase a second rod validation for $14.30.
The state also offers lifetime fishing packages which can range from $500-850, depending on age.
For detailed and updated information, visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife 2014 fishing fees, or call them at 916-928-5805.
Note: according to the department, fees for not having a license may be in the hundreds!
Free Fishing Days!
Want to just borrow a rod and go fish at Echo Park Lake without the costs? The California Department of Fish and Wildlife offers two free fishing days: June 5 and September 6. These days are offered so that people who want to give fishing a try are encouraged to do so without the worry of going through the licensing process.
Fishing Clinics in Los Angeles
For urban communities such as Echo Park and Los Angeles, the state even has a Fishing in the City program that “gives city dwellers an opportunity to learn how to fish, and to fish close to home.”
According to the program, ponds in urban areas (including Echo Park Lake) are stocked with trout in winter and catfish the rest of the year.
The program also offer fishing clinics that teach you how to fish. Unfortunately, there are none scheduled for Echo Park Lake, but there is one coming up nearby:
June 14, 2014. Saturday (8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.)
2230 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Where to Get a License
Various locations across Los Angeles are approved fishing license dealers, most notably Big 5 Sporting Goods, Walmart, K-Mart, Sports Authority, Sports Chalet, and even some 7-11’s, along with many independently owned stores.
For Echo Park, there are locations north toward Pasadena, or south toward the city.
You can try:
Big 5 Sporting Goods, 3420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010. Tel: 213-487-1688 (call first). Map it!